Australian Employers Unexpectedly Add 32,200 Workers

Australian employers unexpectedly added workers in July, driving up the nation’s currency on speculation the central bank will raise borrowing costs by the end of the year.

The number of people employed rose 32,200 from June, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The jobless rate held at 5.8 percent.

Part-time employment increased 48,200 and the number of full-time jobs dropped 16,000 in July, today’s report showed.

The bureau of statistics also released figures today for the first time measuring aggregate monthly hours worked, which fell 0.43 percent in July to 1.52 billion hours. Hours worked peaked in June 2008 at 1.55 billion hours, the report said.

While steady in Australia, unemployment is rising around the world amid the deepest global recession since the Great Depression. Japan’s jobless rate reached a six-year high of 5.4 percent in June and the U.S. rate climbed to 9.5 percent, the worst since 1983. A report today showed New Zealand’s rate jumped in the second quarter to a nine-year high of 6 percent.

Still, there are signs that interest-rate cuts and government spending are having less impact. Retail sales unexpectedly tumbled 1.4 percent in June, the first drop since February, when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced a plan to distribute individual cash payments of as much as A$900 to low and medium income earners.

The participation rate, which measures the labor force as a percentage of the population aged over 15, held at 65.3 percent, today’s report showed.

Australian Employers Unexpectedly Add 32,200 Workers, Bloomberg
8/5/2009 11:35:04 PM